The fact that many school districts in Colorado have graduation requirements below college entrance requirements means students (and their unsuspecting families) are the losers.
How can we educate a generation of parents who are dealing with planning for their student's college entrance for the first time? Parent's can't wait until their student's junior year to begin preparing for college. It must start when the student enters ninth grade. Plus, parents now have to know for themselves which courses are required for college entrance because simply getting a high school diploma isn't enough in most school districts.
A couple of years ago one large metropolitan school district investigated the fiscal impact for adding one additional math course. The current graduation requirement is two years of math in this district, but students graduating high school in 2010 must have four years of math. The district determined adding one math course would cost $6 million dollars. This calculation didn't even factor in that students/families wise enough to know they need math, science and foreign language courses (beyond high school graduation requirements) will be taking additional courses.
Parents/students should make sure they know college entrance requirements. http://www.state.co.us/cche/ Plus, start asking questions about preparing for college entrance during the middle school years. Don't focus on deciding which school your child will attend, rather focus on making sure all his/her options are available once the student is ready to make a decision.